Obama turns tourist in Petra

US President Barack Obama took time out of his diplomatic trip of the Middle East to marvel at the ancient city of Petra. His 24-hour visit to Jordan marked the end of his four-day visit to the region.

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Obama to meet Israeli PM at onset of Iran 'red line'

Obama, right, pictured meeting Netanyahu at the White House last year. Credit: ABACA

US President Barack Obama visits Israel next week at the onset of spring - the "red line" previously drawn by his host, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to trigger an attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

But an Israeli-Iranian war, Washington's nightmare as it tries to scale back defence commitments abroad and avoid a draining Gulf oil crisis, does not appear immediately imminent.

Officials and analysts say Iran has warded off the Israeli threat by calibrating its uranium enrichment so that it does not accrue enough fuel for a potential first bomb - the threshold Netanyahu warned about in a United Nations speech in September.

Obama: Iran more than a year from nuclear weapon

President Obama has told Israelis that Iran is still more than year away from developing a nuclear weapon and sought to reassure them that military force remains a US option if sanctions and diplomacy fail to thwart its nuclear ambitions.

In an interview with Israeli television broadcast on Thursday, just six days before his visit to the country, Obama appeared to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the need for patience with Washington's Iran strategy while also showing US resolve to confront Tehran if necessary.

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